Posted on December 18, 2017 at 9:18 AM by Emily Saveraid
In the Beginning… Iowa County 4-H
4-H officially started in Iowa County in 1918 when D. H. Zentmire was hired as the County Agent. He started the boy’s commodity club work. The change to community club took place in 1929. Girl’s 4-H has always been on the community basis.
In April of 1928, County Superintendent of Schools, G.A. Yoakum, served as leader for 10 young people enrolled in the market pig club. In October of the same year, Parnell Consolidated School Superintendent enrolled twenty-five boys in the market beef club. The severe influenza epidemic that fall so devastated the list of enrollees that only seven boys finished eight calves in 1919.
1925 brought about the organization of a clothing club, purebred sow & liter club, and a baby beef club. Then in 1928 a corn club and a sheep club were formed.
In those early years and continuing until 1955, the whole Extension education program was under the sponsorship of the Farm Bureau. Indicating the Farm Bureau’s approval of 4-H club work is this excerpt from the Farm Bureau’s secretary’s report of March 31, 1919, “The county agent has been authorized to include in the activities of the Bureau an amount of club work along crops and livestock lines with boys and girls in the county. This was handled by the county superintendent of schools previous to his removal from the county.”
Girl’s clubs, always on the community basis, acquired definite form before the boys did. In 1924 six girls’ clubs were organized. In parenthesis are the number of members in the original clubs. Clubs are Hilton Willing Workers (15), English Girls 4-H (16), Lenox Girls 4-H (10), Sumner Girls 4-H (14), Pilot Girls 4-H (13), Troy Girls 4-H (18). Out of this list and also among clubs subsequently organized, Hilton Willing Workers is the only one that has continued through 78 year (1924-2002), without a change of name or any suspension of program.
In 1929 boy’s clubs were formed on the community basis with the exception of the Millersburg Community 4-H Clubs. Others with specific names were Dayton Boosters, English Hustlers, Fillmore Wide Awakes, Hilton Go-Getters, Sumner Boosters, and York Center 4-H.
1955 marked the separation between Farm Bureau and Extension. Since then the 4-H clubs have been under the sole direction of Iowa County Extension.
In 1958 D.H. Zentmire retired after 40 years as county director and in 1959 the first Zentmire Superior Achievement Award was given to Karen Stanerson and Don Sherman. Each year since then the award to two deserving 4-H’ers.
Iowa County now has 16 chartered 4-H clubs, 297 members and 41 leaders. These dedicated leaders, along with the hundreds of other volunteers, are what make 4-H in Iowa County “The Best It Can Be!”